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"Politicians Blackmailing Me On 774,000 Jobs" - Festus Keyamo

Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, says some politicians are making attempts to blackmail him to enable them determine those to be allotted the 774,000 jobs which President Muhammadu Buhari approved recently.

The recruitment, which will be carried out by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) within a special public works programme, is targeted at recruiting 1,000 persons in each of the 774 local government areas.

Scheduled to last for three months (October to December), the programme is targeted at creating jobs for unskilled persons in rural areas.

The workers are expected to clear and protect public infrastructure in rural areas while they earn N20,000 each within the three months.

Keyamo, who spoke during the inauguration of the states’ selection committee of the project, said he would not sacrifice his reputation and principles by going beyond the 10 to 15 per cent allocated to political officers.

He said: “In the past, it used to be that certain people entrusted with this kind of programmes handed them over entirely to political leaders.

“There has been an attempt at blackmailing in this particular programme too to make us also yield to political leaders. But we have said no, not while I am here.

“Except Mr. President, who appointed and gave me the opportunity and rare privilege to drive this programme stops me, no other political leader or person can stop me. I am answerable only to Mr. President. This programme is for all Nigerians.

“Before coming here today, there has been an attempt by certain political leaders to say I must come and see them behind the scenes first to determine who gets what and how. I said no, I will not do that. I am ready at any time for a public debate on this with them.”

Keyamo warned that any committee chairman caught under politicians’ bug would be relieved of the position and replaced immediately.

He said: “I think the chairmen can stand on their own. Don’t go and meet in any Government House to hold any meeting; don’t go to any politician’s house to do selections. Hold your meetings in NDE offices.”

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